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BlackStag123

Why did Cannibal (The Dragon) kill and eat other dragons?

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For those who don't know, Cannibal was a ''wild'' dragon on Dragonstone who was never tamed and was infamous for devouring other dragons, most often baby dragons and eggs.

He never took a rider and was one of the few dragons who survived the Civil War (The Dance), what happened to him none knows, but he basically just vanished one day never to be heard or seen again.

Now, having angry Dragons isn't uncommon, but having a dragon who eats other dragons and shows nothing but hatred for everything around him is incredibly bizarre. In fact I think Cannibal is the only dragon to ever express such odd behavior for no real reason.

I can understand him not taking a rider but why would he eat his own kin?

I mean yeah he wasn't the only ''wild dragon'' but there is no doubt that he was the only one who went out and ate other dragons and just couldn't be tamed no matter what.

Why?

One theory is that the he wasn't from the same lineage as the other Dragons on Dragonstone, so he didn't consider them his ''family'' which explained his aggression. Maybe he wasn't from Valyria or originally wasn't descended from the group of dragons that came to the island after the Doom.

None knows.

One thing that is interesting is that he was one of the oldest dragons on the Island by the time of the Dance.

He was alive before ''Sheepstealer'' (Another wild dragon) and this dragon hatched when King Jaehaerys I Targaryen was a young man. And this guy was one of the longest living kings that Westeros even had.

So none knows the exact age of Cannibal, some say that he was present on Dragonstone before the Targs even arrived all those years ago, but this seems unlikely.

There is definitely a mystery here and I'm interested in what you think the explanation is.

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My theory is that Cannibal was survivor of the Doom. Or he outlived his rider and that made him very hostile toward anybody.

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For what is worth, there are many reptiles that practice cannibalism. Frogs, snakes, salamanders... Perhaps it's not that strange that a dragon does it too.

As per the Cannibal's origins, if color is any indication he should be a son or sibling of Balerion.

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15 hours ago, BlackStag123 said:

One theory is that the he wasn't from the same lineage as the other Dragons on Dragonstone, so he didn't consider them his ''family'' which explained his aggression. Maybe he wasn't from Valyria or originally wasn't descended from the group of dragons that came to the island after the Doom.

I could support this theory.  Perhaps he was the first on Dragonstone and resented the arrival of the dragons from Valyria.  His DNA had not been manipulated. 

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some animals may become cannibals in specific conditions, why not magic animals? seems young dragons were easy meal and the one got the habit of feeding on them. there were only few dragons after the doom of valyria (not too many dragons in the books) so we cannot know the full spectrum of their behaviour. Moreover, this one could have been a human style degenerate (likepsychopath murderes - cannibals), this would explain its aggressiveness ;-) btw frogs and salamanders are amphibia, not reptiles

 

 

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I always thought the Cannibal was a metaphor for the overall Dance of the Dragons happening around it. But in-universe, it could have just been a mad dragon. Not all animals are trainable to humans, even in horse breeds that have been domesticated for millennia. And there are some wolves that get rabies and attack their own kind without thought to the cannibalism. I could easily believe that the dragons share the Valyrians’ propensity for madness, it just doesn’t appear nearly as frequently because of the dragons’ magical abilities.

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Posted (edited)

Why did Jeffrey Dahmer (the Human) kill and eat other humans?

Seriously though cannibalism is common in many species and I don't think we've seen enough wild dragons to assert that Cannibal was even much of an outlier, perhaps that's the natural state of larger wild dragons or maybe he could have been forced into it by circumstances and it just stuck. 

Edited by Trigger Warning

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Wild dragons are solitary with large territories.  The other dragons were crowding the Cannibal.  He was there first and that, in his way of thinking, made it his territory.  Like lions killing cubs. 

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Another possibility is that Cannibal killed other male dragons just to make sure that only he could mate with female dragons. That would also explain why he would destroy any egg or baby dragon that were not lucky enough to have his DNA.

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Different lineage than the others for sure. There was no need for Martin to add the rumour that Cannibal predated the Targaryens on Dragonstone otherwise.

Cannibal likely hatched from an egg that was left behind by the Valyrians who occupied Dragonstone before the Targaryens arrived. Or else from an escaped dragon that outlived its dragonlord from another Valyrian family.

It seems to be a nice tie in to the message Martin was sending that dragons are joined to individual Targaryen bloodlines, explaining why no Targaryen could ever bond the Cannibal.

I also have the pet theory that his consumption of other dragon hatchlings was an instinctive form of blood magic, transferring the life force of the young dragons to Cannibal thus extending his natural life span. Explaining why the small folk had observed him on Dragonstone even before the Targaryens arrived in 112BC.

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The Cannibal is first mentioned during the reign of Viserys I, and back when Queen Rhaena settled on Dragonstone and had a literal army of dragons including the huge beasts Vhagar and Balerion among them there is no mention of him being there or a problem.

Thus he is likely a hatchling from one of those eggs Rhaena brought with her from Fair Isle, or even an older dragon - one of the dozen dragons which hatched during the second half of the Conqueror's reign or the two which hatched in 37 AC.

He has to be somewhat older than Sheepstealer but not that much.

The fact that he wasn't active since before the Targaryens came to Dragonstone is pretty obvious by the simple fact that there was this army of drakes and dragons on Dragonstone in the later days of Aegon I, Aenys, Maegor, and the early years of Jaehaerys I before the Dragonpit was used as a dragons stable. If a cannibalistic had been preying on them back then, Vhagar and Balerion would have made short work of him.

Instead, it seems that one of their offspring is the Cannibal, grew wild in those decades, slowly grew in size and power and decimated all the nameless wild dragons that left the citadel and dragon yards and pits of Dragonstone to make their lairs elsewhere on the island.

Because during the time of the Dance there are only two known wild dragons beside the Cannibal left.

Also, don't be so sure the Cannibal was never claimed. He didn't disappear during the course of FaB. He is still there, and there are potential dragonriders around. He might be ridden and he might die during the reign of Aegon III just as Silverwing and Morning are going to die.

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